Along with their U.S. neighbours, many Canadians are anxiously watching the U.S. election results today. Those of you hoping for a return to some semblance of pre-2016 normalcy might want to look away now.
Using its propriety Brand Attraction Monitor tool, Toronto agency Mass Minority is predicting a narrow Donald Trump victory tonight. The agency previously used BAM to correctly predict the results of the 2016 U.S. election and a Liberal minority in last year’s Canadian election, as well as the outcomes of both the 2018 Ontario election and the 2018 Toronto mayoral election.
BAM was created primarily for measuring consumer behaviour around brands and attitudes towards product marketing, which tends to be a little more straightforward and easy to read than political campaigns, which can be messy and prone to massive swings in consumer sentiment.
Because BAM’s findings are based on actual online behaviour, Mass Minority says it can correct for any inaccuracies that might arise from people not being entirely honest when it comes to stating their voting choices. According to a 2016 article by Scientific American, “voter embarrassment” about Trump may have led poll respondents to deliberately mislead pollsters.
Mass Minority founder Brett Channer said that simply looking at the Biden campaign through an advertising lens, U.S. voting should actually produce a “slight” victory for the Democratic candidate. “From a campaign standpoint, Biden’s performance should win,” he said. “He’s done everything right as a brand. He increased his budget at just the right time, there was a good media split between digital and mass [whereas Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign was too heavily invested in mass media], and he really focused on keeping his negative score down.”
BAM data says that Biden has an advocacy score six times greater than that of Donald Trump, meaning it’s six times more likely that someone would recommend him to a friend. “That’s good marketing, because the best marketing in the world is what leads to word-of-mouth recommendation,” said Channer.
But there are some variables leading Channer to predict a Trump win, most notably the fact that negative sentiment around Biden was on a path to surpass that of Trump prior to a decision by major platforms like Twitter to clamp down on misinformation relating to the election.
“Because of this, we asked what would happen if we take the advantage of sentiment for Biden out of our weighting, which led to us looking at the total volume of attraction toward the Trump campaign,” said Channer. “That give them the advantage, which is how we arrive at the call we made. Essentially Biden wins with sentiment, but Trump wins with volume, which scores heavier for the win.”
At the same time, applying BAM’s “attraction” measure to Trump—in other words the amount that people search for him and stay with his conversation and website—seems to suggest that the incumbent will pull out a victory. His attraction volume is currently 2.5 times greater than that of Biden’s, said Channer.
Channer says the Trump campaign enjoyed a “significant lead” in overall campaign performance as recently as three weeks ago, with a 30% advantage in influence. The campaign was spending effectively on Facebook and social channels, he said, and enjoying a “massive advantage” in relevance.
The sheer volume of negative sentiment surrounding Trump relative to Biden was the incumbent’s “achilles heel,” said Channer, but the president also benefited from a massive outpouring of support when his COVID-19 diagnosis was announced early in the month. “It basically neutralized all negative conversation as well-wishes poured in,” said Channer.